C. E. Moseley, Jr., a field secretary of the General Conference, recently returned from a successful evangelistic series in the city of Djakarta. J. R. Spangler, THE MINISTRY magazine editor, took the first opportunity to probe Pastor Moseley's impressions regarding public evangelism today.
I am anxious to know how you feel about city evangelism, now that the Djakarta campaign is in the past. Is it still possible to bring large numbers into an auditoriom to hear the message?
Yes, evidently it is. It may be harder, but certainly it is still possible. I thank God for the most heart-warming and rewarding experience of my ministry. In fact, the Indonesians proved to be among the most responsive to Bible truth that I have ever encountered. They were rarely contentious about Scripture teaching, and appeared to warmly welcome new truth so long as it was convincingly documented from the Bible.
Do you have figures to back this up? What sort of attendance did you have?
The Djakarta campaign was launched on August 27 and ran for one week in an auditorium of the Asian Games Sports Arena, which seats ten thousand. Our attendance ran from five to seven thousand. For six weeks thereafter the Adventist Evangelistic Center, which normally seats twelve hundred, staggered under fifteen hundred, and overflowed often to two thousand right up to the close of the campaign.
Djarkata is a Moslem city, is it not? Will the Moslems come out to a Christian meeting?
The populace is 90 per cent Moslem. They freely attend our meetings and listen well. They ask more questions regarding the divinity of Christ than I have ever encountered elsewhere, and they will chalyou to debate the issue if you are willing. They urge you to visit in their homes, to eat and drink with them as you discuss the Bible versus the Alkoran. When convinced of truth, they invite relatives and friends in to share the message, and they tend to accept the faith by families. More than forty of these participated in our first baptism.
Who else attended the meetings?
Persons from all walks of life—cabinet members and student groups, men of medicine and science, religionists and atheists, uniformed soldiers and sailors, policemen and secret service agents, all put in their appearance at the Djakarta meetings. And not a few persons of influence and affluence yielded to the faith. There are quite a few Protestant Christians in Djakarta.
No single message caused more general concern among these Protestants than the presentation of the change of the Sabbath. To avoid speaking of other church organizations by name, I pointed out from Scripture that Satan, in his desire to "be like the most High," has developed a counterfeit church, ministry, and day of worship. From this presentation Protestants concluded that they were looked upon by the Adventists as belonging to the synagogue of Satan. The wound went deep, and in our visitation we spent more time in clear this assumption than with any other facet of truth. When it was shown that emperor worship in the old Roman Empire resulted in the forcing of Sunday observance upon the populace as a matter of loyalty to the crown, then most persons saw that the churches which broke away from Rome had brought with them a pagan practice in Sunday worship. And we urged that as soon as the discovery was made the Christian would want to depart from this deception and return to the worship of the true God.
What are the results of this campaign so far?
At the end of two weeks the first major appeal was made. On that occasion 575 signed decision cards to honor and obey the Sabbath command. In time this number grew to 606, with 357 requesting baptism and church membership. By the end of the campaign 209 of these were ready for the first baptism, although 35 were prevented when transportation failed and they could not reach the water. Three baptisms were scheduled for the end of October and November.
I believe this was your first visit to Djakarta. What were your first impressions of the city?
Djakarta presents numerous unforgettables—its myriads of walking people, the many cyclists, becha pedalists, and motor scooters, the variety and age of its motorcars, its noisy, crowded streets and shopping tocars, the tall unfinished buildings, and its miles of odorous canals, breeding clouds of hungry mosquitoes. All these make lasting impressions upon the visitor. The evangelist, of course, is most impressed by the multitudes to whom this message must be given.
What preparation was made for this meeting?
This major thrust was preceded by a week of revival meetings for the seventeen churches in the area. An audience of more than two thousand believers overflowed the Adventist Evangelistic Center nightly. The response and dedication that characterized these meetings were most wholesome.
How did you advertise the campaign?
Prior to and during the campaign the usual methods of advertising were used. Large colored streamers were suspended across major streets and posted at main intersections at fifty points across Djakarta. Other forms of advertising included handbills, posters, letters of invitation to Voice of Prophecy and Bible study interests, newspaper announcements, sound truck, and radio.
What did you find most effective?
The most effective advertising, just as here in America, was individual invitation and transportation by church members.
Were you given an adequate worker force for this meeting?
Yes. Twenty-one teams of two workers each, from two unions, were kept busy with visiting, studying, and persuading men to come to Christ. These met daily in workshops and study sessions to improve their technique in soul winning. One of these teams saw twenty-four of their new believers ready for the first baptism.
Pastor C. A. Williams, from the division office at Singapore, rendered gratifying assistance in counseling and preaching, and Pastor W. L. Wilcox and his union office staff gave indispensable support to the total campaign.
How about music? Are the Indonesian people musical at all?
Yes, few peoples are more music loving and produce a greater variety of music than the Indonesians. Massed choirs, men's and women's choruses, quartets, trios, duets, solos, a brass ensemble, and the famous native Aung Klong bamboo orchestra of twenty-eight members, all blessed the Djakarta campaign. There were hymns, choruses, Negro spirituals, which they did creditably, and even excerpts from Handel's Messiah.
Would you sum up your convictions regarding city evangelism?
I believe we have little time left to warn the great cities. We ought to step into every opportunity that comes to us, depending upon the Holy Spirit to work upon hearts while we do our best to follow the blueprint that God has given us. When we do our part, God will do His.